Most Popular Day Trips from Birmingham, Alabama

Got some extra time on your Alabama trip? Take a few days to explore some of the best day trips from Birmingham, AL. Within a short drive of Alabama’s second-biggest city, you’ll find charming historic towns, beautiful state parks, and pristine forests that offer a fantastic way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Discover lovely cities & towns like Huntsville, Montgomery, Childersburg, and Chattanooga. Explore the breathtaking landscapes of top-notch state parks like Oak Mountain State Park and Cathedral Caverns State Park, or venture into the Talladega National Forest to soak up its tranquil beauty.

Ready to head out of the Magic City and discover the beauty of the Alabama countryside? Plan the ultimate journey with this guide to the top-rated Birmingham side trips!

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Huntsville, AL

If you’re a fan of science and space, visiting Huntsville is a must! Just a short 100-mile drive north of Birmingham, this vibrant city is known for its rich history, modern technological advancements, and natural beauty.

Make your first port of call in Huntsville the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, where you can explore the history of space exploration through interactive exhibits and marvel at actual rockets and artifacts. The most famous of Huntsville’s tourist attractions, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is a place where dreams of reaching the stars (literally) come true!

Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville

For a touch of culture, visit the Huntsville Museum of Art, featuring an impressive collection of American masterpieces. The EarlyWorks Children’s Museum, on the other hand, is perfect for little ones, offering hands-on exhibits and engaging activities that spark imagination and learning.

If you crave outdoor adventures, lace up your hiking boots and head into the picturesque Monte Sano State Park. Traverse scenic trails that lead to breathtaking vistas and enjoy a picnic in one of the park’s spots surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Don’t leave Alabama’s biggest city without exploring the historic charm of Downtown Huntsville. Stroll along the charming streets lined with unique shops, delightful eateries, and inviting cafes. The Alabama Constitution Village takes you back to experience life in early 19th-century Alabama.

Childersburg, AL

Nestled in the heart of Talladega County, Childersburg is a charming Alabama town that offers a perfect blend of history, outdoor activities, and Southern hospitality. Situated approximately 40 miles southeast of Birmingham, this delightful haven is ideal for a fun day out.

Step back in time with a visit to the renowned DeSoto Caverns, an ancient natural wonder filled with awe-inspiring rock formations. Explore the underground caverns, take a guided tour, and enjoy fun activities like gemstone mining and a thrilling maze. It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss!

Kymulga Bridge and Grist Mill in Childersburg

For a dose of history, head to the Childersburg Historic District. Stroll through the streets lined with well-preserved buildings, some dating back to the late 19th century. Immerse yourself in the town’s rich heritage and learn about its fascinating past.

The scenic Childersburg Kiwanis Park is a must-visit for nature lovers. Enjoy a peaceful walk along the picturesque trails, picnic by the tranquil lake, or challenge your friends to a friendly game of disc golf. It’s the perfect spot to relax and reconnect with nature.

Racing fan? Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Talladega Superspeedway, just a short drive from Childersburg. Experience the heart-pounding thrill of NASCAR races and soak up the electrifying atmosphere of this iconic track.

Oak Mountain State Park, AL

Nestled just 20 miles south of Birmingham, Oak Mountain State Park is a beautiful natural paradise waiting to be explored. If you’re looking for outdoor adventures, relaxation, or a family-friendly outing, this 9,000-acre oasis is a must-visit day trip destination!

Oak Mountain State Park’s picturesque landscapes are breathtaking. Explore the scenic trails that wind through towering forests and alongside tranquil lakes and cascading waterfalls. Grab a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and glide across the crystal-clear waters of Beaver and Double Oak Lake or try your luck at fishing.

Oak Mountain State Park

This Alabama state park is also a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Watch for white-tailed deer gracefully roaming through the trees and listen for the calls of various bird species that call the park home. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, where you can meet and learn about native animals up close.

RELATED: Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Birmingham, AL

If you’re in the mood for some thrills, challenge yourself to a round of golf, saddle up for a horseback riding adventure, or hit the mountain biking trails for an adrenaline rush. Oak Mountain State Park also offers excellent picnic spots, perfect for enjoying a delicious meal amidst nature’s beauty.

Majestic Caverns, AL

Journey into the depths of the Earth, witness the wonders of nature, and uncover ancient secrets at Majestic Caverns. Just 42 miles from Birmingham, Majestic Caverns, formerly known as DeSoto Caverns, is an underground wonderland of incredible rock formations and otherworldly landscapes of captivating beauty.

Take a guided tour through Majestic Caverns and discover a world filled with stalagmites, stalactites, and intricate limestone sculptures. Marvel at the natural sculptures and formations meticulously crafted over thousands of years. Knowledgeable guides will share fascinating insights into the cavern’s geology and history.

While exploring Majestic Caverns, look for unique features like underground rivers and pools that add an ethereal quality to the caverns. After your underground adventure, pop into the gift shop for unique souvenirs like geodes and gemstones.

Beyond the caverns, take a leisurely hike in the surrounding park, enjoy a picnic amidst the beautiful landscapes, or miniature golf for some family-friendly fun.

Cathedral Caverns State Park, AL

Grab your sense of adventure and embark on an underground journey at Cathedral Caverns State Park. Situated in Woodville, 45 miles northeast of Birmingham, this Alabama state park is an ideal day trip if you love exploring caves and nature.

Cathedral Caverns State Park in Huntsville

Take a guided tour to gain informative insights into the history, geology, and unique features of Cathedral Caverns State Park. As you journey through the caverns, marvel at the breathtaking formations, including stalactites, flowstones, and dramatic columns. Don’t miss ‘Goliath,’ one of the largest stalagmites in the world, standing tall at an impressive 45 feet.

After your underground adventure, stroll along the park’s scenic nature trails and immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding woodlands. Pack a picnic and find a cozy spot amidst the serenity of nature.

Chattanooga, TN

Why not venture out of state on a day trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee? This vibrant city filled with Southern charm and exciting attractions is 150 miles northwest of Birmingham and is the perfect destination for a memorable getaway.

Start your adventure by ambling along the scenic Tennessee Riverwalk, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding mountains. Rent a bike or go for a leisurely walk as you soak up the beauty of the outdoors.

For breathtaking panoramic views, hop aboard the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. As you ascend Lookout Mountain, soak up sweeping vistas of the city and its beautiful natural landscapes.

Hunter Museum in Chattanooga

Once at the top, explore popular Chattanooga attractions like Rock City Gardens and Ruby Falls, where you can admire incredible rock formations and cascading waterfalls.

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, Chattanooga won’t disappoint. Go hiking or rock climbing in the nearby Cumberland Plateau or embark on a thrilling whitewater rafting trip on the Ocoee River.

As the sun sets, Downtown Chattanooga comes alive with a vibrant food and entertainment scene. Indulge in mouthwatering Southern cuisine at local eateries, browse boutique shops, or catch live music performances at various venues.

DeSoto State Park, AL

DeSoto State Park is a nature lover’s paradise and outdoor adventure haven in the heart of Alabama. Head 90 miles northeast of Birmingham to this enchanting park to spend the day surrounded by natural beauty.

Lace up your hiking boots and explore scenic trails that wind through the lush forests, leading you to picturesque waterfalls and breathtaking overlooks. The Azalea Cascade Trail and the Indian Falls Trail are just a few trails waiting to be discovered.

DeSoto Falls in Mentone

Cool off after your hike with a refreshing dip in the swimming hole at DeSoto Falls, a magnificent 104-foot waterfall that cascades into a sparkling pool. Cast your line and try your luck at catching trout or smallmouth bass in the park’s pristine mountain streams.

Don’t miss the DeSoto State Park’s Nature Center, where you can learn about the local flora and fauna, participate in educational programs, and even meet some resident animals.

Montgomery, AL

Explore the rich heritage of Alabama and enjoy some Southern hospitality with a trip to the state’s capital city of Montgomery. Ninety miles south of Birmingham, Montgomery offers a fantastic blend of history, culture, and diverse attractions for all ages!

Begin your Montgomery adventure with a visit to the iconic Alabama State Capitol, where history was made during the civil rights movement. Take a guided tour and learn about the significant events that unfolded within the walls.

Dive deeper into the city’s history and explore the Rosa Parks Museum, dedicated to the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” Discover the inspiring story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a pivotal moment in American history.

State Capitol, Montgomery

Continue exploring Montgomery’s fun tourist attractions at the Hank Williams Museum, paying tribute to the legendary country music icon. Step back in time as you peruse artifacts and memorabilia that showcase his life and career.

No visit to Montgomery is complete without a trip to the renowned Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Admire an extensive American art collection, from contemporary masterpieces to classic works.

Head to Montgomery’s vibrant downtown area to savor the city’s culinary delights. Sample Southern delicacies at local eateries, and try some delicious barbecue, a true Alabama favorite.

Tupelo, MS

Another fantastic out-of-state day trip is a visit to the vibrant Mississippi gem of Tupelo. Exuding Southern charm and a rich musical heritage, this lively city is well worth the 120-mile drive east of Birmingham.

Your first stop in Tupelo must be the birthplace of the King of Rock’ n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. Explore the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum, where you can step back in time and learn about the early life of this music icon. Visit the humble two-room house where Elvis was born and see the famous statue that pays tribute to his legacy.

Continue your musical journey at the Tupelo Automobile Museum, home to an impressive collection of vintage cars from different eras. Marvel at the beautifully restored automobiles and imagine yourself cruising down the open road in style.

Fair Park, Tupelo

Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the scenic beauty of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Drive along this historic route, stopping at picturesque spots for picnics, hiking, and birdwatching. The lush landscapes and tranquil atmosphere offer the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Explore the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo to meet some local wildlife. As you stroll through the park, encounter majestic bison, playful lemurs, and other fascinating animals. Watch the thrilling buffalo feeding experience, where you can witness these magnificent creatures up close.

When it’s time to refuel, Tupelo won’t disappoint. Enjoy Southern cuisine at charming local eateries, savoring dishes like fried catfish, barbecue, and soul food.

Talladega National Forest, AL

Head into the great outdoors at the beautiful Talladega National Forest. Located 60 miles east of Birmingham, this pristine natural oasis is home to breathtaking landscapes where you can enjoy various outdoor activities.

Hit one of the many scenic hiking trails and discover hidden waterfalls and tranquil lakes. The Cheaha Wilderness Area, nestled within the forest, offers an authentic backcountry experience for those seeking a more rugged adventure. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, wild turkey, and various bird species that call Talladega National Forest home.

Ranger Office, Talladega

Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines in the forest’s clear streams and tranquil lakes, hoping to reel in bass, bream, or catfish. Pack a picnic and find a scenic spot to enjoy a meal amidst the peaceful surroundings.

For a unique experience, visit Cheaha State Park. Climb to the top of Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama, and be rewarded with panoramic views that stretch for miles.

Atlanta, GA

If you feel like a big-city adventure, a day trip to Atlanta, Georgia, is a must! This vibrant metropolis offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and entertainment and is just 150 miles east of Birmingham.

For a dose of history, start your day in Atlanta at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, where you can learn about the life and legacy of the civil rights leader. Walk in Dr. King’s footsteps as you tour his childhood home and visit the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached.

Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta

Explore the Atlanta Botanical Garden, a lush oasis in the heart of the city that’s one of Atlanta’s must-see attractions. Stroll through breathtaking displays of flowers and plants, including the mesmerizing Orchid Display and the serene Japanese Garden.

If you’re a sports fan, visit the College Football Hall of Fame to delve into the sport’s rich history and test your skills in interactive exhibits. Get a taste of Atlanta’s passion for sports and immerse yourself in the excitement of the game.


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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